Archive for October 2013

Geli Voyante's Hot or Not - Guest post by Ellie Field

Brook Cottage Brooks is thrilled to  welcome Ellie Field to the blog. Ellie has kindly written a guest post. There is also a giveaway at the end!

Breaking the rules

The problem with writing a book I've found - or maybe this is just me - is that when I sit down to work on one book, another four ideas immediately pop into my head. Those ideas, naturally, suddenly seem much more appealing and exciting than the book I'm working on at the time!
I suspect though if I did switch my attention to one of those other ideas, even more ideas would pop into my head. I suspect this is one of those writer-like quirks, otherwise known as having an overactive imagination! When this happens, I make myself jot down these oh-so-fantastic ideas, and then I explore them after I've finished the book I'm working on. It's a rule I've always stuck to. 

However, I must confess something: I broke this rule when it came to Geli Voyante's Hot or Not, my new book that's out now. I was twelve or thirteen chapters into the first draft of The Dirtification of Tabitha-Rose - out in 2014, along with the sequel to my first book Kept - when inspiration for Geli Voyante's Hot or Not struck. The characters of Geli and Tiggy seemed so vivid and alive that I knew I had to (temporarily) abandon Tabitha and turn my attention to this new book.

It's not the only rule I broke. The one thing I love about writing is having the freedom to make anything happen and, in that sense, it's definitely OK to break the rules of reality. In Geli Voyante's Hot or Not, for example, the story revolves around rivals Geli and Tiggy who have similar taste in men, plus they also work for the same publishing family in the Gherkin... Of course there are no newspapers or magazines who have a home in the Gherkin, but that's what I mean about having the freedom to make anything happen and breaking rules - anything you can imagine is possible, even if it's not the case in real life. 

I can't think of anything better than using my imagination and pen to make wonderful stories happen, even if I do get distracted by other book ideas. I'm glad I broke my own rule in this case though and immediately started working on Geli, and I hope that everyone loves Geli Voyante's Hot or Not as much as I loved writing it.  
Do you have any writing rules?

About the Author

Elle Field is a twenty-something chick lit author who lives in South London with her boyfriend. She enjoys exploring and photographing Blighty's capital, seeing far too many musicals, and eating her way around London's culinary delights.
Her debut novel Kept was released earlier this year, and her next novel Geli Voyante's Hot or Not will be published on October 17th in Kindle and paperback formats. Watch out in 2014 for the release of Kept's sequel, as well as The Dirtification of Tabitha-Rose.
·         You can read Elle's literary, London and life adventures on her blog:
·         Follow her on Twitter: @ellefie
·         Like her on Facebook:
·         Connect with her on Goodreads:

Geli Voyante's Hot or Not blurb:
'I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read: Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.

Yet, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?'

Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper's very Hot political columnist. She's also getting a little lonely being single.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it's time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too...
Elle’s first book, Kept, has 31 reviews on Amazon UK and is rated 4.5.  You can read the reviews on Amazon here

Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to the very Hot political columnist, Theo. Spurred on by her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles’ engagement, can Geli convince Theo she’s not as shallow as her column and, more importantly, she’s the one for him?


Computer loaded. Connect to Internet. Facebook. Log-in. Password: Toblerone. Let’s just have a little scroll down my News Feed.
“Claire Voyante is listed in a relationship with David Sinclair” – ooh! Claire has a new boyfriend. Bitch! He has no chance though because she’ll never marry someone called Sinclair to become “Claire Sinclair”. It’s stupider than Claire Voyante. There’s a mini-picture of the two of them. Looks kind of geeky – exactly her type then. Boring. I know they won’t last, so I don’t care… Much.
Scroll down some more.
“Glinda Rosenberg wrote on your wall. 9.13 a.m.”
Excellent! Glinda is my very best friend and no doubt has messaged me to arrange lunch, even though we live together and saw each at breakfast – the reason I was late for work… again. We easily lose track of time when we’re together and we always arrange our lunches over Facebook because it helps waste the morning away. I’m just about to click “view wall-to-wall” when something catches my eye and I frantically, and quite manically, scroll down. Run mouse, run!
It can’t be… it is: “Tiggy Boodles is engaged to Calvin Murphy-Lee.”
“Millicent ‘Lily’ Jackson is engaged to Jasper Jenkins.”
“Sarah Simmons is engaged to Toby Holton.”
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Three! Three in one day! This cannot be happening to me. Especially not Tiggy. Why, oh why, Tiggy? I didn’t even know she was seeing someone seriously.
Lately, I’ve noticed this a lot though. All my so-called friends are getting engaged, settling down, beginning the cosy coupledom of married life, until death (or divorce) do they part. Each time I see an announcement, a little part of me dies. Each time, I can’t refrain from thinking, but what about me?
Not that I actually think “what about me?” because what they are doing is just Not Hot. I should know, I declared it so. Everyone knows that grown-up life begins at twenty-five. Before that you are still a child. You wouldn’t let a three year old child get married; equally, you shouldn’t let a twenty-three year old child get married. These may be adult bodies we inhabit but on the inside we’re no better than toddlers. Until twenty-five, that is.
I mean, everyone agreed I was right to declare paying back student loans at above £15,000 earnings wasn’t Not Hot. Changing the requisite to over twenty-five gives the post-uni people time to sort their lives out and allows a greater chance at getting a foot on the housing ladder (house prices aren’t Hot either). It allows the opportunity to deal with silly credit card debt without the additional worry of student loan debt. This break would boost the overall economy and make a better Britain, or at least that’s what Jerry (real name Ben Anderson; Ben and Jerry) declared to me after he read that particular Saturday column-inclusion.
Jerry is the Economist columnist and whereas Theo is Hot, Jerry’s gay. We are beyond looks. But, at least he makes sense when he talks, doesn’t mind me calling him Jerry, and calls my column “inspired” – far more flattering than Theo’s grimace.
I suppose I can just about cope with Lily and Sarah’s engagements, but Tiggy... I cannot accept that she… she is getting married.
Tiggy Boodles is my arch-nemesis. She cannot be getting married for legitimate reasons because she is incapable of love. This is a spite campaign against me so she can declare in her pathetic rip-off column that I was wrong and weddings for the under twenty-fives are Hot. But, if she hadn’t got some poor schmuck to agree to marry her – and I bet she cajoled him into proposing – she wouldn’t be saying that. I bet this Calvin Murphy-Lee person did not drop to one knee or, if he did, it was only because Tiggy was gripping his arm tightly with her talon-grip and pushing him to the ground.
Tiggy Boodles is your classic airhead. She is blonde to my brunette; orange to my human-colour; a copy-cat to my creative – proved by her rip-off column: “Fab or Faux”. Sound familiar? Week-in, week-out, she declares my column as faux. She likes broken, low-quality records as you’ve probably gathered. It’s funny though as I’m the one with all the awards… and my own boobs. There’s nothing faux or unnatural about me… unlike the silicon in her.
In public however, it’s a different story. There are air-kisses for the silly cameras that inevitably seem to follow Tiggy Boodles around like the poop (not the scoop) she is. For the record, the air-five is the Hot way to greet friends and enemies alike. She schizophrenically acts like we’re best buddies because we both hail from the same hometown of Durban, South Africa, we both attended the same university here in the UK – Leeds – and we now both live in London, where we write a similar column, in the same publishing family. I quickly, and rather unnecessarily add, my column is far superior, but as we both work in the New News family and with New News being big on family values, bizarrely they encourage this deluded, juxtaposed rivalry in the spirit of sisterly banter. They think it’s great. Newspaper talk for: we sell copies.
To me though, despite what senior management may say, Tiggy Boodle is faux and I hate her. She is nothing but a parasite whose favourite activity is replicating my life to torture me. Go figure. 
It’s wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, back in Durban, we were best friends. Inseparable in and around The Berea, the neighbourhood where we both lived. Even though we were in different houses at school, we were still inseparable. Inseparable. Up until the point she stole my childhood sweetheart, Eric Nevis, in a move that divided the loyalties of our year group at Durban Girls’ College and then we were never found in the same vicinity again. Even though our worlds collided practically every day and we shared the same physical space, we were operating on different levels. That made it like we weren’t in the same place, even if she was standing two metres away or sharing a desk with me in class. The girls’ loyalties may have been divided, but the teachers didn’t care. Hence, the forced desk sharing. 
Eric later cheated on her – he slept around, especially with the tourists frequenting the Golden Mile – and, to my great delight, gave her a nasty disease. It gets better. He then told everyone the real reason why he dumped her instead of covering it up with social niceties. Fantastic! Even if he had left me for Tiggy I instantly forgave him for that.
Every so often, I like to include STI’s in my column as Not Hot. It gives me great satisfaction to know I’m subtly, but publicly, making a dig at Tiggy. Better still, she knows it. It also wins me brownie points with the adults because I have a huge teen following and it promotes me as a modern day heroine for promoting safe sex. Ha! And it’s all thanks to Tiggy Boodles for being a cheating, phoney slut. It kills her to know that.
However, Tiggy Boodles may be a cheating, phoney slut, but she is a cheating, phoney slut who is now engaged. That smarts. More so than when she enticed Eric away from me using the lure of cheap sex. I cannot believe a girl of her dubious morals is getting married before I am to this Calvin person, whoever this deluded Calvin person is. Quasimodo’s uglier brother, perhaps?
Quick! Click on Calvin’s name. Excellent, his profile isn’t limited!
Oh dear… Oh dear, dear, dear… This is not good. This is not good at all.

Name: Calvin Murphy-Lee
Sex: Male
Interested in: Women
Relationship Status: Engaged to Tiggy Boodles
Birthday: 16th January, 1977
Hometown: Windsor, Berkshire

And, oh my, he’s Hot. Click, “view more photos”. 
Crap. He is deliciously hot. Life is truly not fair. How is Tiggy Boodles, Tiggy Boodles of all people, engaged to a deliciously hot, thirty year old City boy who is probably worth millions by now and who, worst of all, looks nice? Not just nice in the looks sense, but like a nice person.
He’s tagged in an album entitled “Christmas with Shelter”. Calvin has sacrificed his Christmas Day to help others out and, by the looks of it, not only is this a regular Christmas occurrence, it seems Mr Murphy-Lee helps out all year round. I suspect he doesn’t do this to impress people either. I can tell this because he isn’t posing in any of the photos in the “look at me, look at me” manner I equate with Tiggy. He looks oblivious in fact.
How on earth has the evilest, most selfish girl in both hemispheres managed to snag a gorgeous, rich, nice man? How has she done it? She hates the homeless. She hates charity work. I mean, I suspect she even hates her own mother (justifiable, I’ve met Ursula), so what on earth has he seen in her? If it is true, if she really has managed to capture this man’s heart – let me face the gutting truth for one moment here, she has uncharacteristically kept quiet about him which smacks that this is probably the real deal – then where is my Calvin Murphy-Lee? This makes no sense whatsoever.

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Janice Horton talks Voodoo!

Hi Janice, and welcome to the blog. With spooky Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time for you to tell all the readers of the blog about your Voodoo Romance Series.  So, let’s begin our interrogation interview! Pull up a chair (though not the one plugged into the wall…………mwahhhhahhhahhhhaaahhaaa – cue thunder and lightning!)

JB: Where did your inspiration come from for this series of spooky books?

JANICE: I believe the best inspiration for a story comes from something that happens in real life. The ‘what if?’ factor kicks in and my writer’s imagination takes over.  You might think it’s a bit weird and spooky, but I got the idea for the first book in this series on a flight back from the Caribbean. I actually witnessed a spat between two female passengers and one appearing to put a curse on the other. I’d scribbled the opening scene for ‘How Do You Voodoo? before we’d landed!

JB:  What sort of research did you have to do for the books? 

JANICE: I’m guilty of enjoying the research as much as the writing! A central scene in the first book takes place at the Necropolis in Glasgow, a huge Victorian city centre graveyard known locally as the City of the Dead. I took a research trip out there on a grey autumn day last year and it was fabulously atmospheric and really spooky!

JB: Tell us the most interesting thing you found out about voodoo.

JANICE: I became pretty fascinated with Marie Laveau - the so called ‘Witch Queen of New Orleans’. You’ll find out a bit more about her in Voodoo Child.

JB:  Did you develop an unhealthy interest in voodoo or a healthy respect?

JANICE: I would say both. I loved reading about the nature of the ‘loas’ or spirits associated with the voodoo belief and I probably found out more than I needed to for the books. That said - I’m still an atheist!

JB:  Have you ever been tempted to try a bit of voodoo yourself?

JANICE: No. Definitely not. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t…!

JB:  Tell us a little about the main characters in the Voodoo Romance Series.

JANICE: The main characters are Nola and Louis. The three books in the series cover their relationship from how they meet and fall in love, get married, and have their first child. Just your average love story then, you might think? No, not really, because Nola starts off thinking she’s been cursed by voodoo and that Louis is a witch doctor. Actually, he’s a medical doctor and he prefers to believe in science and medicine rather than spells and magic. But as Nola gets to know his wonderful but wacky voodoo family, who are all quirky sub-characters in the plot, she gets to realise exactly what Louis is up against as there is magic and mayhem at every turn!

JB:  Tell us about a spooky thing that happened to you.

JANICE: At the Edinburgh Festival in August, I went on a midnight ‘ghost tour’ which included going down into Edinburgh’s vaults. The ‘Vaults’ are an underground network of dark damp and reputedly haunted tunnels under South Bridge where in the 18th Century the poor of Edinburgh lived and died. That was very spooky indeed. I can recommend the tour if you are in Edinburgh this Halloween!

JB:  Do you have any Halloween traditions?

JANICE: Not now that our three sons are all grown up. But when they were young,  we would all dress up and do all the trick and treating and attend the party in the village hall afterwards, where there would be messy black treacle scones hanging on strings and apple dunking to be done in barrels of water. The Scots really do know how to celebrate Halloween. It’s always been a special event in Scotland.

Special Halloween Offer!
You can download the first humorous romance in this series How Do You Voodoo?
Absolutely FREE until the 31st October!

About the Author: Janice Horton lives in Scotland. Janice writes contemporary fiction with humour and heart. Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling ebooks ‘Bagpipes and Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and her voodoo romance novellas. Her latest title is a nonfiction guide ‘How To Party Online’. Janice is a regular blogger and you’ll also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist's Association and Editor of the Bookshelf Reviews feature at Loveahappyending Lifestyle Magazine.

Janice Horton - Contemporary fiction with humour and heart
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Associate Editor at: Loveahappyending Lifestyle Mag


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